North Valley Hospital to set up Sleep Clinic

TONASKET – North Valley Hospital CEO Mike Zwicker announced at the April 22 Board of Commissioners meeting the plans to implement an outpatient sleep lab are “moving forward at a strong pace” and awaiting approval from the Department of Health.

Zwicker the president of SleepElite toured the facility for potential sleep rooms, and a board certified sleep medicine doctor will begin seeing sleep patients at NVH one day per week.

“I anticipate this project to be completed well ahead of schedule and performing two sleep patients initially three days per week,” said Zwicker. “With the backlog of sleep patients from other hospitals, I also anticipate our sleep lab volumes to increase operations to six days per week.”

Zwicker said an outpatient wound clinic is also on the horizon.

A mock disaster April 28 simulated a bomb going off in Oroville with NVH receiving seven “patients.” Zwicker said the board room was used as an incident command center and the drill was a success.

“I commend Kim Jacobs for putting this together. Last year’s fire responses would not have gone as well without her helping people be prepared,” said Zwicker.

Zwicker NVH intends to purchase an electronic health record for Extended Care.

“This decision is and will be a shot in the arm that Extended Care is here to stay,” said Zwicker. “We have invested money into it to keep it sustainable and it is here to stay. We are not going to lose it.”

Extended Care currently has 39 residents.

“I never felt like the Extended Care was more viable than it is now,” said Director Linda Holden. “I appreciate Mike’s (Zwicker) commitment; he is a champion for us.”

The board approved an equipment request by Holden and Maintenance Department Manager John Sanchez for a Wander Guard Alarm System to prevent patients from leaving the building unattended. The equipment would set off an alarm and lock doors whenever someone wearing a Wander Guard bracelet approached the doors.

“It would set off a 15-second lockdown, giving someone time to get over there,” said Sanchez. “And it will stay locked longer if they jostle the door, as it has a vibration sensation.” The system cost $13,073.57.

The board also approved the purchase of an Infrastructure upgrade for servers, network, storage and software at a cost of $58,138.79.

Zwicker said purchase of a geothermal system was put on hold.

“The community is asking if we have done our due diligence and looked at different systems. We owe that to the community,” said Zwicker, adding that community meetings will be held for the public to discuss the geothermal system.

Interim Director of Nursing Services Arnese Stern said a Nurse Rededication ceremony will be held May 11 at 6 p.m. Stern said nurses would retake their pledge in a candle lighting ceremony that would include a “blessing of the hands” and a historical presentation. It will be held in the NVH courtyard weather permitting, otherwise in the dining hall.

Jana Symonds, Director of Patient Financial Services, reported NVH has 87 days worth of cash in the bank.

“This is a record, and a real happy day for us,” said Symonds, adding that accounts receivable were at 51 days, which is a 17-day improvement in 70 days.